Helena, who died at 17, must leave the only place where she can exist before Lady Death can lure her brother into a parallel world and turn his love against her.
When I sat like this, with my back against him and his arms around me, and I couldn’t see his face, I imagined that he was Sander.
‘Helena, why do you bring this up now?’
‘I want you to find someone else who stays with me during the nights.’
A long silence. Then a breath that lifted his chest and part of me, because I lay resting against it. ‘Is this for my sake?’
‘I don’t know.’ I was nearly whispering. ‘Maybe it’s for both of us.’
Another silence. ‘I see.’
‘Do you, though?’ I clenched my hands around his and remembered other hands I had held like this, hands wrapped in bandages that were drenched with blood. ‘I don’t want to be unfair to you, Vince. Or to myself.’ In a whisper I added, ‘Or to Sander.’
‘Are you being unfair to us or to yourself?’
‘I think so.’
‘Have I given you the feeling that I mind?’
‘Do you think that Sander would have minded?’
‘I don’t know.’
He nodded. I could feel it in the way his arms moved over mine. ‘If that’s really what you want, I’ll see to it.’
I closed my eyes and wondered if it was what I wished, and if it was, why the hell it hurt so much.